Long-Term Review

2017 Kia Sorento: Road Trip to Florida

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author photo by Tommy Flanagan June 2017

For my yearly road trip to Florida, I was given the keys to our long-term 2017 Kia Sorento SX. I've enjoyed driving the Sorento around Atlanta and was excited that it would accompany me on my trip to Ormond Beach. The roomy Sorento is great for grocery-store runs and those trips to Home Depot to get supplies I need for around the house. But would it be a worthy road-trip companion for the 420-mile trip to the beach? I was anxious to find out.

Hitting the Open Road

After picking up my girlfriend and packing up her gear, we hit the interstate and headed south. It was time to see how well the Sorento would perform on the open road. To me, adaptive cruise control is a must when driving long distances. Kia's Advanced Smart Cruise Control system is extremely smooth when decelerating behind slower traffic. It's not jerky like in a few other SUVs I've driven. At times, you don't realize it's actually slowed the vehicle. Plus, the system gradually brings the vehicle back up to speed once you've passed a slower vehicle. The navigation system is also one of the best I've used. It's easy to program and even provides traffic conditions via SiriusXM Traffic. It warned us several times about traffic jams up ahead and predicted how much time it would take to maneuver through the congestion. The 8-inch screen is easy to read, too. The only gripe I have with the navigation system is it's not intuitive and doesn't automatically fill in address data for you as you're putting it in, unlike some other systems I've used.

Lots of Great Amenities

Nothing ruins a great road quicker than uncomfortable seats. Thankfully, this isn't a problem with the Sorento. Our SX is equipped with 10-way power-adjustable seats with power lumbar support. Also, one of my pet peeves is seats that don't come all the way up to my knees. On long drives, it's one thing that really makes my legs feel cramped. That isn't a problem with the power driver's seat-cushion extension. It only takes a few seconds to adjust and is a welcome feature for people with long legs.

I've also gotten quite attached to Apple CarPlay. Once you've experienced it, it's hard to do without. I had no problems getting CarPlay to work in the Sorento. Android Auto is also available for drivers that prefer this platform. These features are available in all Sorento models except the L trim.

Road Manners

Our 2017 Kia Sorento is equipped with a 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 mated to a 6-speed Sportmatic transmission. Shifts are extremely smooth, and the transmission never seemed to struggle to find the right gear. This pairing works really well together, and I was quite pleased with this combination's driving dynamics. There's also plenty of power for passing or when climbing steep grades.

During my vacation, I put a little over 1,600 miles on the odometer. During that time, the Sorento averaged 29.7 miles per gallon out on the highway. Overall, in combined highway and city driving, the Sorento averaged 23.7 mpg. That's not bad for a 6-cylinder SUV and substantially better than the EPA's ratings.

A Few Bumps in the Road

There were a couple issues I had with the Sorento during the trip. First of all, the Smart-Power Liftgate didn't always open automatically when I stood behind it. Kia states you only have to wait three seconds, but after waiting at least 10 seconds, it still did not open. This is a bit frustrating when you have your hands full and you have to put everything on the ground to fumble in your pocket for the key fob.

I'm also surprised to learn the Sorento does not have a rear-seat entertainment option. Granted, we were not traveling with small children, but those who do would probably want this feature. Wi-Fi is available, but you have to use you own hotspot or phone to take advantage of it. Other manufacturers offer Wi-Fi in their vehicles, so it's unclear why Kia chooses not to make it available.

The Verdict

Overall, I must say I was really pleased with the Sorento. It's a solid and versatile performer, with a build quality you would expect from a vehicle costing much more. I have found it to be equally great for running errands around town and for long road trips. I hope to get a lot more drive time in with the Sorento. Yes, I like it that much.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Kia Sorento: Road Trip to Florida - Autotrader